Back in the day, people used to make pilgrimages to sacred spots as readily as we go to McDonalds. Inspired by Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and (the more contemporary) Simon Pegg’s Paul, I have compiled a list of mini-Meccas that every good fan should visit at least once in his or her life. If any spot on the list seems a little out of your way, just remember people used to walk miles and miles with dirty feet for their gods. It seems like a little thing to spare a few frequent flyer miles for ours.
1) 2 Hammarskjöld Plaza,NYC
The address of the Tet Corporation of Dark Tower fame, this place actually exists. Instead of a vacant lot with the roses of all roses at the center, there is a fairly standard New York high-rise in the Turtle Bay area of Manhattan. Thousands of fictional people have sacrificed their lives to keep that building standing- taking a facebook mobile upload in front of it is the least you could do to repay them.
2) Monroeville Mall (Pennsylvania)
If ever there was a mall to shop at armed to the teeth, this one is it. It was here that the original Dawn of the Dead movie was filmed and some say you can still find fake blood stains on the pavement. There is even a store called Time and Space toys that features an extensive DotD exhibit complete with memorabilia and life-size replicas of various zombies. Hopefully this means that if you decide to come to this mall decked out in undead swag, the locals won’t look at you cross-eyed.
3) The Quick-Stop (Leonardo, NJ)
This is one place on the list that I’ve actually taken the day to drive to. If you’ve seen any of the good Kevin Smith movies (those that take place in the Askewniverse/have Jay and Silent Bob in them) then you know that this is the location of the real convenience store where the clerks of Clerks worked. The funny thing is, the Quick-Stop is actually a functioning business manned by an Indian clerk who did NOT ID me when I bought a pack of cigarettes. Even better, the video store is still there as well, although not in operation. However, if you peek inside the store you’ll notice it’s been perfectly preserved since the 90’s, complete with VHS tapes. If you have time, I’d also suggest taking the ten minute drive to Red Bank, NJ, where you’ll find Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash. The comic store is one of the only places in the country you can get a Catholicism Wow tank (I bought one) while standing in front of the actual Buddy Christ statue.
4) New Zealand
This is cheating: Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, Babe. The end. Space was a runner up; I heard that’s where Star Wars took place.
5)King’s Cross Station(Central London)
This is probably the biggest must-see on the list and the only one that I’m basing my entire study abroad fund on. I mean, if there’s even a little chance I’ll be able to get through to Platform 9 ¾ , I should check itout, right? Platforms 9 and 10 are actually in a different place than the main station and platforms 4 and 5 were used for actual filming. In honor of us Potterheads, the station’s Powers-That-Be have set up a trolley going through a wall near platform 1 in a designated picture area. This isn’t as cool as the original location, but apparently the massive number of people walking around with lightening bolts on their heads wasinterfering with commuters.
6) Medieval Times(all over the place)
The only place on the list where a seventeen year old can throw a birthday party for herself like its 575 AD(yeah, I did), this themed restaurant is probably the greatest eatery on earth. Diners are served an entire half a chicken, soup, a baked potato, ribs, garlic bread and dessert to inhale at their leisure without being inhibited by silly things like utensils (seriously, they don’t have them). While trying to make your one allotted napkin last for the entire meal, you are entertained by live knights, horses, hawks, and a plot you could give a shit about as long as your champion wins (fuck yeah, green knight). The best part is, you can go over and over again without knowing the outcome of the show since it changes periodically. When you get a chance, find the closest location to you and GO THERE.
7) The Mütter Museum (Philadelphia)
The greatest educational trip my strict all-girls Catholic High School ever took me on (I’m still convinced it was a mistake) was the museum of medical oddities. Jog past some boring furniture in the front and make your way to the back rooms. Among the exhibits include a giant wall of skulls (one that I swear belonged to a vampire), a piece of tumor removed from Grover Cleveland, the thorax of John Wilkes Booth, deformed fetal specimens, early gynecological equipment, and the famous Soap Lady whose corpse turned into some strange soapy substance. Enter all ye who seek knowledge.
8) Riverside, Iowa
When this town was looking for a good theme for it’s annual festival, some genius decided it should proclaim itself the future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk. Luckily for them, show creator Gene Roddenberry was totally down with it. The annual festival includes a parade, fireworks, and a whole bunch of other fun shit. If you’re a trekkie, it’s a must and if you’re not, at least you’ll have a good place to wear your “Han Shot First” tee.
9)Torrence High School (Torrance, California)
In honor of Leia’s week-long Buffy-fest (and because I’m currently staring at my complete BtVS collection on DVD), California’s own hellmouth makes the list. The exterior shots of Sunnydale Highschool were all done at this Southern California house of learning. I’d prefer it if I could have visited a giant town-sized pit, but I’ll take what I can get. Warning: permanent invisibility is a possible side-effect to entering this building.
I cheated again, but I have a theory that something meme worthy occurs every 5 seconds in this island nation so it’s worth it. Is it strange that of all the places to go, I most want to visit Mount Midoriyama?
This is just the first installment guys so don’t put together your Oregon Trail like caravan together yet. If you have any suggestions of places let us know in a comment!
p.s. Gold star to anyone who gets the Buffy reference in #7. Leia can’t play.